Approximately 10% of phenotypic type 2 diabetics have islet autoantibodies and are referred to as having latent autoimmune diabetes of adults (LADA), and they land on early sulfonylurea failure and require insulin. Diagnosing LADA has treatment implications because of high risk of progression to insulin dependency. But often there is delay in insulin therapy, as there are no recommendations for islet antibody testing in adult-onset diabetes currently. LADA clinical risk score can identify adults at high risk who may benefit from antibody testing. The optimal treatment of LADA is not established. Early insulin therapy helps to achieve good metabolic control and better long-term outcomes by preserving β-cells and endogenous C-peptide secretion. Sulfonylureas are better avoided as they exhaust β-cells; glitazones and exenatide have favorable outcomes, whereas metformin needs to be used with caution. Understanding LADA will also bring new windows in managing type 1 diabetes. Information acquisition was done by reviewing the medical literature published since 1987, with particular attention to the natural history, genetic factors, and treatment of LADA.
Keywords: Autoimmune, insulin, islet autoantibodies, latent autoimmune diabetes of adults, sulfonylurea failure